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Spotlight on Games > Ludographies > Pirate Games
Pirate Card Games
September 25, 2014 added Choose Your Crew: PiratesHoard 'n' PlunderJolly Roger: The Game of Piracy & MutinyMint Tin PiratesPirate DenPirate LootPirates! Card GamePlunder

Ulrich Blum; Adlung; 2-4; 20-45
In the Caribbean of 1717 island pirates
search islands for treasure. There are five different roles – movement, discovery, firing, recruiting and a meta-one. The reason for the meta is the real innovation of the game. Each three-part card shows a crewmember in one of five colors (as well as a treasure value and a combat value). Each color is tied to one of the five roles so that the more crew members of a color, the more the player can do that role. But meta-role is to swap two of these role-to-color correspondences. Cards are used to form a playing area and are flipped to discover islands (two of the cards being just empty sea). When an island is discovered the player draws a card to determine what kind of treasure is found there. To resolve combat, pirates at the same location draw an extra card for each cannoneer. The higher total steals a treasure. The artwork is pretty cool, ships are formed via folding cards in half (might be nice to get some stands for them) and each island is named and appears to resemble an actual Caribbean venue. [more]

Buried Treasure
aka Das Superblatt
Sid Sackson; FX Schmid-1999
Set collection game in which players must choose from the best stack. Some cards may let you take more cards from other stacks or steal some from opponents. It's very much a matter of looking ahead to see what effects your actions will have. The pirate theme is really only reflected in the card and box illustrations.

Captain Jack's Gold
Christian Fiore; Noris Spiele; 2-4; 30
Players are pirates trying to capture Caribbean merchants. The procedure is to turn up a card of their choice from the deck of their choice. They thus may take sails or cannons. A good set of sails gives access to more targets while a good set of cannon gives a better chance of actually taking them.

Choose Your Crew: Pirates
Kynan Hale; The Game Crafter-2014; 2-4; 30
Players race to be the first to assemble a complete pirate crew of 16 from among the 88 cards. Sixty-four of these are unique pirates with different illustrations and there are eight each of recruitment, man overboard and loyalty/luck cards. There appears to be plenty of "take that!" as players can fire cannons, inflict scurvy, incite mutiny and kidnap. There are also trading rules, if you can trust the scurvy dog across the table...

Bruno Faidutti; Edge Entertainment-2009/Fantasy Flight-2009 (as Letter of Marque)/Heidelberger-2009 (as Unter Schwarzer Flagge); 3-6
Bluffing card game in which players either send out a treasure ship, attack an opponent's treasure ship or bring one of one's own home. This is so simple that it can be played using one or two decks of ordinary cards. Each player takes one suit and designates the cards 3-7 as treasures. Aces and Kings can be armed merchants with Queen, Jack and 10 as unarmed. The numbers 2, 8 and 9 can be salvoes. This game is probably too simplistic for most adults, but might work okay for some kids. Find out more about the rules at

Corsairs and Buccaneers
Scurvy Dog Games
Using the 300 card set, players first building their pirate fleet, then sail out and try to fight their opponents, and the occasional sea monster. The winder is the player who brings back the most treasure. Sounds like a "take that" game. P

Hoard 'n' Plunder
Mike Pierce;
The Game Crafter-2014; 2-6; 15
Players try to collect ten treasure cards first. Treasure cards in hand can be played directly the hoard. Attacking cards permit stealing attempts on others, provided they don't use a defense card. Unfortunately each turn begins by the player drawing a card.

Ice Pirates
Dan Isaac;
web-published-2005; 2-4
Rival fleets search for treasure, battle opponents and steal from one another. Built on the Icehouse system. P

Ice Pirates of Harbour Grace
Carl Chudyk & Erek Slater; Cambridge Games Factory-2005; 2-6
Game of exploration and combat. Players control ships which begin at the center of a sea formed by face down cards. Sailing reveals the cards which come in the following flavors: open sea, open sea with blocking ice, storm, treasure map fragment, extra crew, treasure island. Player travel is fueled by the wind which changes on every storm encounter, i.e. not overly often, and is directed by player desires to acquire the various ship upgrades located at the six corners. These enhance either movement, – main sail, jib, icebreaker – combat, – cannon, grappling hook – or discovery/pick-up – telescope. Only three of each are available and the later one arrives, the more they cost in crew. Eventually someone finds all three map fragments and recovers the treasure, at which point the second phase begins: all attempt to seize the booty by combat and escape the map off the northern edge. Production is pretty good – it comes in a clear plastic bag, but the cards are fairly sturdy and packaged in re-usable sleeves. The plastic chips are gambling sized and though hardly thematic, are at least a pleasure to handle. Card artwork is cartoonish rather than classic.
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John Silver
Martin Schlegel; eggertspiele-2006; 2-4
Cards are played to either of two rows. When a row is completed by play of the fourth card, the player of the highest card gets the second-highest while the player of the lowest card gets the second-lowest. The goal is to get the cards showing the coins and avoid those showing the torn maps. Some cards give points to your neighboring opponent.

Jolly Roger
Fréderic Moyersoen; Ares Games-2015; 4-10; 30
From the designer of
Saboteur, one player is the captain who chooses a destination. The pirates cooperate (we hope) on the attack and then they divide the loot. But it's always possible for one player to shout "Mutiny!" and try to overthrow the captain. Remember that your loot is never safe until you get it buried on Treasure Island. P

Paolo Mori; Asmodee-2012; 2-6; 45
Hand management, simultaneous action selection and set collection game that includes thirty cards per player and a large number of other components.

Mint Tin Pirates
David Rene Miller; subQuark-2014; 2; 5
A game of two pirate ships fighting at sea using cannon, pistols, hand mortars and dirks. It's also possible to recover lost pirates or persuade enemy crew to join you. Pirates exist in various locations on the ship and damage tokens are applied as the fight goes on. Each player has a hand of five cards to play, but they require a matching dice roll to operate. Includes 64 cards, 6 meeples and 2 10-sided dice.

aka Mutineer
Marcel-André Casasola-Merkle; Adlung-2000; 3-4
Players represent various identical characters aboard a ship. Each round they choose roles and may do things such as trade and mutiny. Cards make up a world of places. Card art is quite nice, especially so because of the consistent look across all of the cards.
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Pillage & Plunder
Evidence Interactive-2000
Buy ships, outfit them with officers, crewmen, cargo and supplies. Engage in attacks on merchant vessels and on other pirates. Embark on treasure hunts and engage in commercial trade. Said to be similar to Piratenbucht.

Reiner Knizia; Amigo Spiel-1992/Heidelberger-2002 (as Korsar)/Gamewright-2002 (as Loot)
2002 re-release features much nicer packaging and Franz Vohwinkel card artwork. Players either play a merchant ship from hand or a card to attack one.
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Pirate Brothers
Jay Bommer; GamesArtsBooks-2010; 2
Card game in which Red Corsair and Blackbeard are the antagonists, the object being to rescue one's lady from the other pirate. Cards represent sea and islands with hands of cards acting as ships, crew and pirate spells (spells?).

Pirate Den
Richard James & Boyan Radakovich; Gamesmith-2014; 3-5; 30
Bluffing game of attacking merchants as well as your fellow pirates. Players hold a hand of cards and all reveal one simultaneously, acting in the order of the initiative values on the cards. Cards come in three colors corresponding to three different pools of treasure that may be taken, or it's possible to steal from another player. There is also the possiblity of burying treasure, which protects it from theft. Win by having the most treasures when someone manages to bury five.

Pirate Heroes
Dominique Ferland; self-published-2010; 2
The world is created via placement of 72 tiles which are gradually discovered by the pirates. To be discovered are islands, monsters, gold and taverns. There are also some that permit cards to be drawn and these include teleportation, storms and thieves. Pirates fight monsters and one another using dice, trying to form the best Poker hands.

Pirate Island
Lloyd Krassner; Warp Spawn Games
-2002; 2
Each player controls a captain, ship, and crew who are rated for crew, cannon, navigation, discipline, seamanship and swordsmanship. Hazards include Spanish galleons, typhoons, volcanoes and hostiles.

Pirate Loot
Jason Bulmahn; Minotaur Games-2015; 2-4; 60
-2002; 2
"Take that!" game of recruiiting crew, getting loot and trying to hold on to it. P

Piraten Poker
Michael Schacht; Piatnik-1999
Is a rather simple matter of players making three consecutive secret bids over three treasures before replenishing their hands.
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Pirates des Caraïbes
aka Piraten der Südsee (1998 Mario Truant)
Timbre Poste; Halloween Concept-1997
Players try to collect four parts of a treasure, either from the island or by relieving the other pirates of their shares. Supports up to six players.
rules P

Pirates Own Game
Lloyd Krassner;
Warp Spawn Games-2006; 2
The card game includes a pirate deck, an event deck and a plunder deck. The first includes cards for captains, ships and crew. To be plundered are both treasures and items which help the pirate. The goal is to be the first to gain twenty points of gold.

Pirates! Card Game
Jules Prick; (self-published)-2014; 2-6; 30
Players begin with very little and must work their way up (or down) to become scary pirates. Includes cards representing sloops, cannon, crew and cargo.

Pirate's Plunder
Tray Green & Dawn Payn; Hillary's Toy Box-2000
Card game about piracy on the high seas has players competing to be the first to collect three thousand pieces of eight. First they must steal a ship by rolling six pips or more on two dice. This is basically a "take that" game with a few novelties.
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Karl & Julianne Lepp; Laughing Pan Productions-2004
Multi-player card game of the classic Caribbean pirate era. Players create the map as they go using cards. There are rules for buying and selling at ports, discovering treasure, taking merchants, ship upgrades, wars, letters of marque and inter-player combat.
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Jonathan Franklin; R&R Games-2013; 2-6
Deduction card game in which each player has a treasure located at the intersection of three randomly drawn cards. Cards come in three colors and six numbers. From a separate deck three cards are drawn. The current player may alter one of these. Then each player must state if any of his cards are currently on display. If players discern the complete location of any other's treasure, they record it and if proven correct, those guessing correctly score.

Plunder Jonathan Franklin; R&R Games-2013; 2-6
Deduction card game. Each player is a pirate captain trying to steal the others' buried treasures by deducing the three landmarks that indicate the location of each. The later a player arrives to a treasure, the smaller the share.

Port Royal
Wolfgang Panning; Queen-2000
A trick-taking card game where it's unnecessary to follow suit and each trick is for a different stake.

Lloyd Krassner;
Warp Spawn Games-2005
Players choose a customized deck representing one of four nations: Spain, England, France, Holland. Each includes nine types of cards: Ships, Captains, Crews, Bases, Escorts, Merchants, Treasures, Defenses, and Events. The object is to be the first to plunder 100 gold. P

aka Buccaneer
aka Safeknacker
Stefan Dorra; Queen-2006
Originally about building gangs and cracking safes, but later re-published as a game about pirate crews. Rules are simple, but a lot of thought needed to win.
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7 Islands
Hayato Kisaragi; One Draw-2011; 1-4
Deck building game along
Dominion lines, the goal, as usual, being to collect victory points. There are also islands, which feature quests. Players add markers to these, a quest being completed when sufficient markers have accumulated, giving the finishing player a special ability. P

7th Sea
Dan Verssen; Alderac-1999; 2
In this collectible card game each player starts with a ship which he strengthens by acquiring crew and items.

aka Corsairs
Thorsten Lippmann & Andreas Wetter; Hans-im-Glück-2000
Multi-player game in which players bid cards and roll dice to take over merchant galleys of varying values. Features plenty of strategy and tactics, being overall light and elegant as well, but overlong with dice luck playing a too considerable role in the outcome. Title is a reference to Klaus Störtebeker, a pirate figure in fourteenth-century Baltic Sea history.
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Trade Fleet
Ken Leyhe; The Game Crafter/Icepack-2010; 2-5
Card game of collecting goods to sell at port, as well as waylaying other players. Card play options on a turn include playing a card, a port or selling.

Piero Cioni, Giovanni Melega; Red Omega Studio-2003
Players lay cards in rows trying to arrange that by the end their own pirate ships take the best prizes. But it's tricky because all plays must be to the left side first, where the order of cards is always (from left) pirate, merchant, treasure, seas, battle determiner (will it be crew, sails or cannon?). Sounds very much a tactical lookahead type of game where the main decision each turn is whether to fatten your own chances or narrow those of the opponent. There are also event cards which throw in some randomness.

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